Plants to Trim in Spring

Trimming a plant encourages new growth and enhances the beauty of the space with the fresh new blooms. By incorporating proper pruning techniques you are ensuring a successful and long-lived plant. Pruning can also reduce the risk of contaminating the plant with diseases like fungus. Think of your spring trimming like spring-cleaning, a yearly maintenance plant to keep the plant looking tidy.


Trim shrubs that are grown for their foliage like honeysuckle and barberry in spring, before the new growth begins. Shrubs that bloom on new growth like roses should also be pruned in the spring and cut back to live wood. Hardier shrubs like hydrangeas should be pruned to the first pair of buds. Other shrubs like smokebush and barberry, also grown for their foliage rather than their blooms need to be trimmed in the spring.


Evergreens like arborvitae and junipers can be trimmed anytime during the spring. Make sure to trim these hardy plants to their natural shape. Remove all dead and weak limbs from the tree. Cut back any mangles or twisted branches at the base of the tree. Remove all sucker shoots, or small shoots rising from the root structure of the evergreen, as soon as they become visible. Remember, evergreens require little pruning so prune according to their growth behavior.


Prune groundcovers like blue star creeper, English ivy and jasmine in early spring and after the chance of a hard frost has passed. Prune the groundcover to remove dead and unhealthy vines. This will promote new growth and vigorous spreading. Cut back 4 to 6 six inches of the groundcover for a neat and well-trimmed garden.


Prune vines like wisteria and trumpet flowers back to the top of the plant to promote new growth and force out new tendrils and branches. Prune out any straggly and deformed growth to induce flowering on the vine, especially wisteria. Remember extensively pruning the vigorous growing wisteria vine can encourage a rampant growth the next growing season that can take over the garden, so be light with the pruning shears when pruning wisteria.

Keywords: spring pruning, trimming shrubs, trimming evergreens, pruning groundcover, trimming vines

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.